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In a sentinel node biopsy, your surgeon may use a radioactive tracer or dye to show up the lymph node nearest to your cancer. This is the sentinel node. Your surgeon will remove the sentinel lymph node, and send it to a laboratory to test for cancer cells. Read more in our section, What happens during lymph node removal?
Having swollen lymph nodes doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have them removed. It depends on what’s causing them. Swollen lymph nodes are most commonly caused by infection and usually get better on their own. If the swelling hasn’t gone away within a few weeks, speak to your GP. Read more in our About section.
This depends on the area that’s been operated on and whether you’re having any other surgery. Some people feel back to normal within a couple of weeks. But it’s possible for pain to continue for weeks or even months. You can find out more in the section on Recovery, above
You’re likely to feel sore and have some discomfort after your lymph node removal. There’s a risk of complications such as infection and ongoing pain, too. You’ll also have a long-term risk of lymphoedema– a build-up of lymph fluid. Your doctor or nurse will give you advice on how to manage these problems.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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